A person who loses their sight and hearing after they have developed language in their early years is said to have acquired deafblindness.
An individual may already have a sight or hearing impairment, and suddenly or gradually lose the other sense. It could be related to a specific genetic condition from birth, or as a result of an illness or accident.
People who have Usher syndrome, for example, will have grown up as deaf or hard-of-hearing, but then received the diagnosis that they are also losing their sight.
As we age our hearing and sight will deteriorate. At first we may just need glasses or to turn the TV up a little. But if our sight or hearing deteriorate further, daily activities can become more difficult.
Due to their changed circumstances, a person’s sight or hearing loss will mean making lifestyle adjustments, such as in how they communicate, find and use information, or get around.
While the diagnosis of sight and hearing loss can have a significant emotional impact, many people with acquired deafblindness lead active, independent and fulfilling lives.
First published: Tuesday 29 May 2012
Updated: Tuesday 15 October 2013